Kochi: India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC 1), to be integrated into the Indian Navy as INS Vikrant in the first half of 2022, left Kochi for sea trials on Wednesday. The Navy characterized the occasion as a proud and momentous day for the country in a tweet. It is the largest and most complex warship that India has ever planned and built.
The aircraft carrier’s design began in 1999, with the keel being placed in February 2009. On December 29, 2011, the ship was floated out of its dry dock and launched on August 12, 2013. In December 2020, the basin testing was finished. The aircraft carrier’s combat capability is expected to provide significant capabilities to India’s maritime interests in the area.
On Wednesday at 9.30 am, the 40,000-tonne warship departed Kochi Port. A large crew of 1,200 people have boarded the aircraft carrier, which includes Navy commanders, engineers from the Cochin Shipyard, original equipment makers and specialists. For the next three months, the team will be analyzing the operation of various equipment onboard the vessel. The performance of the propulsion system, the power generating and distribution system, the turbines and other equipment will be assessed.
The 40,000-tonne aircraft carrier cost Rs 23,000 crore to construct at Cochin Shipyard. The vessel is the most sophisticated battleship India has ever built, with 75% indigenous equipment. The Navy will begin flying tests of fighter aircraft and helicopters to be operated from the deck of the IAC when the sea trials are completed. From the deck of the aircraft carrier, the Navy will operate Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), Chetak helicopters, MH-60R multirole helicopters and MiG-29K fighter planes.